Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose): Steps, Benefits, and Contraindications

Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose or Dead Bug Pose) - Fitzabout

The Ananda Balasana, also known as Happy Baby Pose or Dead Bug Pose, gently brings a greater awareness to your hip joints.

Ananda Balasana is considered to be one of the relaxation and relaxing postures that can be done for better sleep and relaxation of the whole body.

It is a yoga pose that allows you to suppress and revitalize stagnation in life. It is especially the need of the contemporary world to lead a life which is joyful and stress-free.

So, turn on the blissful mode and discover the bliss by diving into the divine child within us.

Information

Known as:Ananda Balasana, Happy Baby Pose, Dead Bug Pose
Sanskrit name:आनन्द बालासन
IAST:ānand bālāsana
Pronunciation:ah-NAHN-dah bah-LAH-sah-nahNA
Type:Hip opener, restorative, relaxation, supine, stretch
Level:Beginner
Focus:Hips, hamstrings, inner thighs, groin
Total time:30 to 60 seconds
Drishti:Tip of the nose (Nasagre)
Chakra:Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra
Indications:Fatigue, tiredness, stress, calm, anxiety, or depression, menstrual cramps
Counterposes:Setu Bandhasana (Shoulder supported bridge pose), Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Preparatory poses:Reclined Hand-to-foot Pose (Supta Padangusthasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Hero Pose (Virasana)
Follow-up poses:Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana), Reclined Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana), Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Shvanasana), Wind Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana), Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Contraindications:Knee injury, neck injury (support the head on a thickly folded blanket), high blood pressure or low blood pressure, pregnancy

Meaning + Mythology

Ananda Balasana

Meaning

The Ananda Balasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of three words — Ananda + Bala + Asana:

  1. Ananda” = “happy or “blissful”
  2. Bala” = “child or baby”
  3. Asana” = “pose or posture”

The name becomes true just by looking at the nature of Ananda Balasana. While practicing it, one assumes the physical form of a child or small child resting on their back, supine and completely relaxed.

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Ananda Balasana may have a more profound effect than its playful form. It awakens the inner child, brings us back to flawless awareness of the world around us. While adulthood brings constant stress and personal challenges, Happy Baby reigns over our ability to make a pure observation of what is happening in the present.

Ananda Balasana calms the active mind, urging the urge to let go, relax and be once again mesmerized with whatever moves around and through us.

Mythology

The story behind this mudra involves King Dasharatha of Ayodhya and his wish for a rightful heir. He had three powerful wives, but no children, and this caused an uproar throughout the kingdom. Mother Earth had also prayed for a protector to keep her natural splendor safe from over-indulgence and destruction. Dasaratha acted as the protector of Dharma, and the call of Mother Earth called Vishnu to return order to Dharma’s weak wick. Vishnu uses birth to bring in a divine being known as an avatar for protection against certain evils.

The avatars represent untapped potential waiting to be discovered, the king offered a sacrificial offering consisting of golden milk pudding, which was distributed among his three wives. They all became pregnant and gave birth to Dasharatha’s champion, bringing balance to dharma and salvation on earth.

The gods in mythology are said to represent aspects of ourselves and how we relate to our body and mind. For example, Dasharatha translates to ‘ten chariots’ and represents our body as a chariot drawn by the horses of our senses. Our soul serves as the rider and our mind acts as the rein.

Symbolizes one who has authority over mind and body, like a yoga practitioner. By gaining control over our senses through yoga or meditation, we are manifesting our inner divine qualities, and from that a happy child is born.

Benefits of Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)

Practicing Ananda Balasana (Dead Bug Pose) can have tremendous benefits on the physical and mental health, which are listed below:

  1. Physical Benefits:
    • Stretches the spine, groins, hamstrings, and inner thighs
    • Realigns the spine
    • Opens the hips, inner thighs, and groin
    • Relief from the back pain
    • Therapeutic for the women experiencing chronic pelvic pain[1]
    • Alleviating and relieving menstrual cramps
    • Massages the abdominal organs
    • Improve the functioning of the kidneys
    • Improves the blood filtration process and removes toxins
  2. Mental Benefits:
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Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose) Practice Guide

Instructions

  • Come to lie on the back, bend the knees gently towards the chest.
  • Keep the knees wide apart on either side of the torso.
  • Reach down and grasp the outer part of each leg with the respective hand. The shoulders and head should remain on the floor.
  • Keeping the soles of the feet towards the ceiling, bend the knees and bring the shin straight down on the floor as if you were going to stand on it. Maintain this position of the shins and feet throughout the Asana.
  • Firmly flex the feet and activate by separating the toes.
  • If they’ve shifted upward, pull the upper arms back into their shoulder sockets.
  • Anchor the sacrum on the mat and apply some pressure to the feet with the hands to create slight traction.
  • Keep the sacrum on the mat no matter what!
  • Stay here for 60 seconds, and then release the knees by pulling them into the chest.

Tips

While practicing Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose), keep these things in mind:

Back and neck alignment

Your back and neck should be straight to promote balance and help prevent strain.

Pelvic position

Your pelvis should remain on the floor. If your hips come up, press the tailbone back towards the mat. If necessary, drop your feet and hold onto your ankles or shins instead.

Head and shoulder position

Avoid lifting with your head or chest. Support your neck if necessary, and adjust your arm position to avoid unnecessary strain.

Modification

Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose) modifications can make the pose more accessible and comfortable.

Here are some to try:

Use the yoga strap

Dead Bug Pose is all about being down-to-earth. If the head, neck, or shoulders are lifting off the floor, or it’s difficult to hold the feet, try using a yoga strap around the arch of each foot.

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Use the elbows to separate the knees

If the knees want to kiss repeatedly, use the elbows to push them apart. The added pressure will help you slide into the proper position and maximize the stretch.

Hold one leg at a time

Lifting one leg at a time can help you gradually ease into your stretch, especially if it is difficult to keep the pelvis, neck, head, or shoulders on the floor.

It may also help to isolate each leg to balance the flexibility between the limbs.

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Precautions and contraindications

It is important that you understand the proper way to practice Ananda Balasana (Dead Bug Pose) to avoid injury and get the most out of the pose.

However, there are precautions and contraindications to keep in mind while practicing Ananda Balasana, which are explained below:

  • Avoid arching your tailbone by consciously pressing it to the floor. Make sure your ankles are aligned with your knees.
  • If you are a pregnant woman, Dead Bud Pose is not recommended for you. This particular currency is also discouraged after the first quarter. This involves lying on your back, which can reduce blood flow to the fetus.
  • Avoid this pose with neck, shoulder, ankle, or knee injuries, high blood pressure or low blood pressure. People with any other type of injury should also avoid the practice or, alternatively, practice Happy Baby Pose with an experienced yoga teacher/instructor.

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Article Sources +
  1. Pain Medicine, Volume 18, Issue 10, October 2017, Pages 1864–1872, https://doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnw306. Development and Feasibility of a Group-Based Therapeutic Yoga Program for Women with Chronic Pelvic Pain. Available here: https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/18/10/1864/3737820[]

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